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Sony Hackers Offer to Withhold Stolen Data From Promised Leak

The offer was included with the eighth release of stolen data, with promises of more to come.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

A group claiming responsibility for the devastating hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment on Sunday offered to selectively hold back on releasing email correspondence of its employees, provided that they write in and ask.

The offer, apparently from the Guardians of Peace, a group that says it has carried out the attacks, marks a new twist in its ongoing campaign of embarrassing leaks of data stolen from the studio’s computers studio, now entering its third week.

“Message to SPE Staffers,” reads the posting written in halting English. “We have a plan to release emails and privacy of the Sony Pictures employees. If you don’t want your privacy to be released, tell us your name and business title to take off your data.”

The message appeared on Pastebin and Friendpaste, two sites for sharing text files often favored for circulating information obtained in hacking attacks. It warned about a forthcoming disclosure that will contain more email correspondence of Sony Pictures employees.

The message then offers up links to several file-sharing sites for obtaining the latest trove, the eighth so far. The file appeared to contain an email archive, nearly six gigabytes in size, belonging to Steve O’Dell, president of Sony Pictures Releasing International. A Sony spokesperson had no immediate comment.

The message refers to a forthcoming “Christmas gift” that was the subject of a message accompanying the seventh data dump circulated on Saturday. “The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting,” the message says.

Sony has been under a digital siege since Nov. 24 when it disclosed an attack that crippled its internal corporate network. The attack has steadily escalated over the course of three weeks. Unreleased Sony movies have been leaked to file-sharing sites, numerous embarrassing emails between Sony executives and other Hollywood power players have been disclosed, along with data about internal company deliberations, business plans, salaries and other confidential information.

The Guardians of Peace have referred to a “movie of terror,” and have demanded that it not be released. This is thought to be a reference to “The Interview,” a forthcoming comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco depicting a TV interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that turns into a CIA-sponsored assassination attempt. Re/code first reported that Sony was investigating a possible North Korean connection. North Korea has officially denied any connection to the attack, but has praised those who carried it out, calling it a “righteous deed.”

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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